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Senate Democrats Agree With Major Parts Of GOP Budget

The Senate Utilities Committee heard testimony Thursday about a controversial proposed coal gasification plant in Rockport Indiana.

The ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee says the minority party agrees on significant portions of the budget bill presented by House Republicans.

Senator Karen Tallian (D-Portage) says the budget produced by House Republicans recognizes the state is coming out of a recession. It implements significant spending increases to help offset cuts made in recent years.

She also acknowledges that Republicans made sure to leave enough money in reserve while paying down debt. Still, Tallian says there are tweaks that should be made.

“We think there should be a little more money in K-12 education. Get us back to the level that we were when the former governor started making cuts in 2010,” she says.

Tallian also says if Governor Pence’s proposed 10-percent income tax cut is put in the budget, the automatic taxpayer refund has to go.

Senate Appropriations Chair Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) says Pence’s proposal, and Tallian’s suggestion, are part of a larger discussion the General Assembly must have.

“To always look at your tax system to see if you can do better, have a more moderate tax program which will draw people to Indiana, give more money to people in the private economy to spend money, I think we’re all in agreement on that,” he says. “The question is how and what and when.”

Much of the final decisions on the budget, including the fate of Pence’s tax cut, will not be made until late April after a new state revenue forecast is released.

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